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LEATHER 

IN THE 
DECORATIVE ARTS 



THE COOPER UNION MUSEUM 
FOR THE ARTS OF DECORATION 




(o'XOO 

C73V 

'[ ACKNOWLEDGMENT 

In assembling material for the exhibition, the Museum has received 
most helpful suggestions and information from the following, to 
whom are given most grateful thanks: 

Allied Kid Company 

Valentine S. Andrew 

Mrs. Adelyn D. Breeskin 

Miss Dorothy Fox Davies 

Dr. Paul Drey 

William H. Forsyth 

A. F. Gallun and Sons Corporation 

Dr. Oswald Goetz 

Paul L. Grigaut 

The Reverend John H. Harrington 

E. F. Houghton and Company 

Dr. Hans Huth 

Dr. A. Remington Kellogg 

Rolf Key-Oberg 

Kid Leather Guild 

Leif C. Kronen 

Miss Laura Lee Linder 

G. H. Mealley 

Miss Dorothy Miner 

The Ohio Leather Company 

The Old Print Shop Inc. 

Orrell Oseland 

Pfister and Vogel Tanning Co. 

J. E. Rhoads and Sons rrp 7 jqci 

Marvin Chauncey Ross *"M -fl mOfl 

Dr. Clarence S. Sherman 

Frank O. Spinney 

Upholstery Leather Group 

Copyright 1950 by The Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration 



INTRODUCTION 



Sometime an uncountable number o£ years ago our primeval ancestors 
began using the skins of animals as adornment, or as protection against 
cold, the thorns of forest paths, and the missiles of their enemies. At 
first the hides were untanned, stiff, malodorous, and very perishable, but 
when some anonymous genius discovered that they could be rendered soft 
and durable by treatment with salt, bark, vegetable juices, or by being 
methodically chewed, as a domestic duty, by the women folk, the history of 
leather came into existence. Of all natural materials, leather has probably 
had the most diverse uses, and has been adapted to nearly every functional 
and decorative need, from the tent of the nomad to the reliquaries of saints. 
Depending upon the processes employed, it can be made nearly as rigid and 
impenetrable as hard wood, or as yielding and flexible as cashmere. It can 
be cut, sewn, stretched, compressed, moulded, tooled, inlaid, and made 
translucent or opaque. It can be colored throughout the range of the 
spectrum, painted, or used as a base for metal leaf. It is available wherever 
animal life and a curing medium exist, in every latitude and terrain. And 
it has become such a commonplace of everyday life that we are prone to 
forget how many-sided are its services, how great a number of decorative 
styles and utilitarian purposes may be illustrated by leather objects alone. 
The Cooper Union Museum has chosen to devote an exhibition to leather 
in the decorative arts for several reasons. From the earliest historical period 
leather has been a vehicle for craft and artistic expression; as material, its 
peculiar qualities permit the widest application to all manner of articles, and 
yet preserve certain characteristics which may be seen consistently down 
through the centuries; it reflects every change of custom, of taste, of economic 
and social organization; and, as a subject of special exhibitions, it is rarely 
shown. The intention of the exhibition is primarily to bring forward the 
choicest leather objects that could be assembled, of as many different styles, 
periods, and countries as possible. The scope, chronologically, is from 
approximately fifteen hundred years before Christ to the present year; 
geographically, five continents are represented. If there are omissions, as 
in the absence of material from the Dark Ages, it is only because specimens 
are so scarce that they could not be procured. And if the representation of 
a few classes — book-bindings, shoes, boxes and coffers — may seem over- 
generous, this is because the leatherwork of some periods can now be 
exemplified only by such means. The clothing, the household utensils, in- 
numerable pieces of domestic equipment, have long since been discarded 
and destroyed, for human beings are almost never sentimental, in their own 



times, about the ordinary commodities which become treasured curiosities. 

Leather, of no matter what sort, has specific properties which determine 
its employment and effect. Nearly as pliable as cloth, once fashioned into 
a given shape, and hardened by heat and pressure, it will retain its form 
almost indefinitely: thus it can be worked wherever the demand is for a 
material less inflexible than metal or wood, and more robust than woven 
fabric. Its tensile strength, resistance to friction and ordinary changes of 
temperature dispose it initially to all uses in which a combination of plas- 
ticity and toughness are required. Unless coated, leather is reasonably 
porous, so that clothing made of it can be worn in nearly all climates. Above 
all, it commands sumptuous textures, which are improved by polishing and 
preservative agents. Visually, leather is ornamental, tactually it is inviting; 
wherever luxurious surfaces, a smooth and stable brilliance, richness of 
lustre and depth of sheen are wanted, it has always been the optimum. The 
eulogist of The Song of Songs, when he wishes to be especially lavish, says, 
"How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter!" 

In so brief a resume as this only the meagerest hint of the historical refer- 
ences to leather, and the manufacturing processes undertaken, can be given. 
But we know that rough leather cups may have been fashioned by the neo- 
lithic inhabitants of Britain, for one such, now lost, was found buried deep 
in the earth in Smithfield, London, in 1867. In Egypt, as early as 4000 B.C., 
bas-reliefs show leather-dressers at work; the Sumerians, fifteen hundred 
years later, used leather for tires and harness; stools found in the tomb of 
Tutankhamen were upholstered with goat-skin; in Babylonia and Assyria 
alum, gall-nuts oil, myrrh, and sumach were used to produce, even at that 
scientifically uncomplicated period, the three varieties of leather as they are 
still known to us today: tanned (in which the treatment is with tannin or 
tannic acid, contained in gall-nuts), tawed (prepared with mineral salts, or 
alum), and chamoised (in which the skins are treated with oils and fats). 
It was surely known in the Far East from the earliest antiquity: leather 
armor, made by stitching together scales of lacquered hide, has been uncov- 
ered in Chinese Turkestan, and betrays a sophistication of technique that 
must have begun long before manufacture in the first three centuries of our 
era. Among aboriginal peoples, particularly the American Indians, though 
the curing methods with smoke and elk's brains were crude, the results 
obtained can still be matched today only by the most painstaking and costly 
commercial processes. The Greeks and Romans utilized leather for nearly 
every modern need and many that have been supplanted: for wine-vessels 
and armor, for money, for window-panes, for masks. Caesar mentions leather 
used for sails by the seafarers of Brittany, and during the Middle Ages it 
became as ubiquitous as the present-day synthetic plastic. 

4 



So universal and so immemorial a use presumes an equally old and wide- 
spread technique of manufacture. Though modern methods have accelerated 
the process, and chemistry has multiplied the finishes and textures, the pro- 
cedures remain astonishingly traditional. The raw, or "green" material 
(a hide if it is the pelt of a large animal, a kip if the skin of one of the 
young of the foregoing, or a skin if the pelt of a small animal) is first worked 
over rounded beams to make it pliant; the hides or skins are then soaked 
and washed, being either tumbled or pounded the meanwhile to speed the 
process and break up the fibres. When the skins have become perfectly 
flexible, they are fleshed for the removal of excess matter remaining from 
the animal tissue. The fourth step, depilation, or the removal of hair, is 
accomplished by further saturation with a solution of lime and sodium 
sulphide (in ancient tanneries wood ash was used), which loosens the roots 
and enlarges the pores of the skin so that solutions subsequently used in 
the tanning process are more easily absorbed. Once the hair is thoroughly 
disengaged from the follicles, it is removed from the surface with a blunt 
knife similar to the fleshing knife employed before. The chemical action 
of the depilatory solution, however, leaves the skin swollen and resistant; 
this condition must be reduced by bating, a procedure, now wholly carried 
out with chemical compounds, formerly accomplished with manures. All 
these steps, while they have reduced the coarse flayed hide to a smooth, 
supple skin, have at the same time rendered it extremely delicate: it must 
be pickled, so as not to disintegrate, in a solution of sulphuric acid, salt, 
and water. When pickling has been completed (in Greek and Roman times 
the process was one of months' duration, the hides being packed with 
powdered oak bark and water), the second half of leather manufacture 
begins, the tanning process proper. Choices of ingredients and finish im- 
mediately multiply: the leather may be treated with oil, with alum, or it 
may be tanned with smoke, vegetable extracts (hemlock, oak and mimosa 
bark, chestnut and quebracho wood, and other more exotic brews), or with 
liquid bichromate of soda and sulphuric acid (chrome tanning), the proper- 
ties of which, discovered by the American chemist Augustus Schultz in 1884, 
revolutionized the leather industry. The chemical action of all these methods 
has the same purpose, if not the same action, which is so to surround the 
individual fibres within the hide with some preservative substance that they 
become proof against bacteria or other decomposing agents, and maintain 
the flexibility of their natural animate state. Because of the length of time 
necessary for the hides to be permeated by chemicals other than sulphate of 
chromium, this method accounts for by far the largest part of commercially 
produced leather, but other methods, expanded and speeded by the use of 
machines, will continue to be used for the production of fine leathers in 



which the textures which are the outcome of the use of natural elements are 
perforce finer and more lasting. Once the hide has been tanned, it is then 
shaved to a uniform thickness (or split, if the skin is thick), and dyed. Again, 
the dye solvent being water, the skins must be dried: this is accomplished 
by fat liquor, an emulsion of neats-foot oil and sulphuric acid, which dis- 
places the water in the skin and restores it to its original flexibility. The 
remaining processes are given over to smoothing, tempering, stretching, and 
softening the skin, to removing any unevenness or imperfection, and a final 
seasoning to insure uniformity of color and finish. The result is that sub- 
stance so agreeable to the touch and sight and, unpredictably enough, to 
the smell, and so comprehensively employed, the historical and decorative 
panorama of which we are about to view. 

When a people — though their social organism may be governed by rules, 
taboos, and rites endlessly more intricate than our own — resemble, or have 
remained static in, the state we are accustomed to think of as the original 
state of man, we call them "primitive". Primitive art is by no means 
necessarily rudimentary in technique, but it mirrors a pattern of thinking 
directly opposed to that of the contemporary artist. It is always commanded, 
not by the impulse to individual expression, but by some other requisite: 
magic or utility. This is not to say that the primitive craftsman, braiding, 
stamping, or moulding his leather into scabbards, bags, clothing, or any 
other article, is devoid of that personal instinct for play, for improvement, 
and the delight in manual self-assertion which infuses all creative work in 
the arts. Yet the warrior, the shaman, and the witch-doctor are different 
patrons from the housewife, the connoisseur, or the consumer: they demand 
both more immediate practicality and more protracted sorcery. The fetish 
figure (No. 5, Fig. 7), or Juju, from French West Africa, illustrates this 
duality of magic and decoration: a stuffed leather body, attenuated and even 
grossly distorted in form, representing the frightful but fascinating god, is 
covered with designs of applied and woven leather in which the maker has 
evinced both his craftsman's relish in handling the material, and his willing- 
ness to suppress personal interpretations in favor of a prescribed, traditional 
image. The same kind of superlative execution in a medium, in which the 
qualities are never overwrought or deformed, may be seen in primitive 
sheaths, shoes, bags, and shields; where magical purpose is not the aim, 
decorative utility is. 

So soon as a social group forsakes the primitive condition by forsaking 
also the two dominant motives of magic and utility, in favor (though as in 
the case of Egypt and Byzantium this may be only very slight) of a sense of 
individual importance, civilization as we know it, and the artist as he is 
thought of apart from the craftsman, can arise. An undefinable attribute 



supplants the former controlling inspirations: from out the object there 
issues a sometimes faint, sometimes overpowering sense of personality, which 
is that of the maker himself. And being less coerced by tradition, the artisan 
may vary his technique and patterns wilfully, exercising his phantasy, and 
with inventive freedom nature can be either more precisely imitated, or 
abstract pattern can be more liberally developed. Although, as has been 
pointed out, the survivals of leatherwork from this early epoch in Europe 
are exceedingly scarce, enough remain even as fragments to bear out this 
contention. Portions of Egyptian paintings (Nos. 12 and 15) show a lotus 
design, and a girl under a grape arbor: one is a naturalistic piece of observa- 
tion applied to decorative pattern, the other is an everyday scene which the 
artist has chosen for its own delightful sake. In clothing, in household gear, 
style and fashion become possible. The appliqued leather helmet (No. 20), 
from the famous site of Antinoe, where in the second century A.D. the 
Emperor Hadrian founded a temple to the exquisite Antinous, who drowned 
himself in the Nile nearby, is such a piece: here the decorative scroll-pattern, 
which serves no end other than to give verve and variety to the surface, must 
have been, when it was made, the "latest thing". Sturdy, roughly fashioned 
sandals (No. 19), suitable to the active dawn-to-dusk labor of the peasant, 
alternate with red leather pointed-toed shoes (No. 17), such as we are told 
were worn by Theodora, the bear-trainer's daughter and courtesan who, 
in the sixth century, rigid with pride, pearls and brocade, became the 
Empress Regnant of the Eastern Empire. A small perforated leather strip 
(No. 21) show to what delicate uses leather could be put as embellishment. 
What is left to us from the Dark and Middle Ages, that period of tidal 
ethnic migrations and spiritual exaltations and upheavals, is to be found in 
the one medium by which the lights of antiquity, of learning and Christen- 
dom were preserved, the scroll and the book. No other material than 
leather could be so perfectly adjusted to the demands of the scribe and the 
binder: it offers a surface smooth enough for calligraphy and illumination; 
its porosity insures permanence of script; its flexibility (especially when in 
the form of vellum) makes it an ideal page; and, for bindings, it may be hard 
or soft, plain or ornate. But in entering the field of books and bookbinding, 
we leave behind any relationship to the plebeian: until no more than two 
hundred years ago, books were the property only of the wealthy and the 
learned — a very slender portion of society. They were kept chained in 
monastery libraries, or secreted behind the panels of private chambers. But 
if they are no clue to the proletariat, they are an unequalled guide to the 
tastes and modes of the aristocracy. A bookbinding has certain features 
which, from the decorative point of view, should be noted: these are the 
book-covers proper, or covered sides of the book, the commonest field for 

7 



decoration, and the doublures, the lining of the inside of the book-covers. 
With two flat planes, and an unbounded number of motifs from which to 
choose, bindings are as much a chronicle of events as the pages they enclose. 
The earliest in the exhibition is a Romanesque stamped deerskin binding, 
from Southern Germany or Austria, of the twelfth century (No. 68), evi- 
dently worked with eleven different tools in geometrical, foliate, interlace, 
and meander designs; the latest are contemporary French bindings (Nos. 
172, 197 and 199) in which our modern regard for the decorative integrity 
of the material itself, its functional aesthetic, is strangely similar to that of 
our medieval forbears. Books, in the eighteenth century, became so much 
a part of the scheme of interior decoration that they were even partially 
rebound (No. 55) in different kinds of leather in order to conform to the 
alterations carried out by a newly affluent Austrian monastery. In between 
these two extremes are all the diversities of historic style, from the plainest 
doeskin binding over boards (No. 57) to an early twentieth century binding 
in which the handling of the material has become so ornate that it is difficult 
to tell that leather has been used (No. 203). 

Allied to the art of the bookbinder, the art of the maker of boxes, coffers 
and chests (often himself a bookbinder, as in the case of Clovis Eve [active 
1584-1635], binder to Henry IV and Louis XIII, who made the travelling case 
(No. 77, Fig. 4), as proficiently finished as any bibliophile's treasure) is also 
one of patrician patronage. Especially in the late Middle Ages and the 
Renaissance, when interest in the collecting of classical oddments and articles 
of virtu became one of the measures of the cultivated, various receptacles 
made to accommodate coins (No. 123) and other curios (No. 108, Fig. 6) 
were covered with ornamented leather of different kinds. Secular scenes of 
romantic courtship, drawn from the ballads and lays of the Minnesingers, 
may often be seen on German Minnekastchen (No. 60, Fig. 5) made even 
more cheerful by polychromy and repousse relief. In order to make the 
leather as hard as possible, and yet allow it to be worked into figured, floral, 
or geometrical designs, it was often boiled in wax mixed with resin and 
glue, which rendered it temporarily plastic and, on cooling, almost stone- 
hard. This "boiled leather", or cuir bouilli, will be seen in numerous objects 
in which decorative relief covers most of the surface; it has one drawback, 
which is that the leather becomes very dark and somber: this is often dimin- 
ished by enamel, paint, or gold and silver leaf. Being so malleable, these 
leather containers often are given the shape of the object inside. In large 
collections, such as sacristies and ecclesiastical treasuries, where vestments 
and sacred utensils have to be protected and yet clearly identifiable, the 
shapes of mitres (No. 118, Fig. 1), chalices (No. 47) and devotional books 
(No. 50) are those which determine the not seldom unwieldly exterior form 




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(jo x 




Drinking Vessel In Form of a Shoe 

France, 15th century, gilded silver mounts by Melchior Mager, Nuremberg, 1582 

Lent by S. Kramarsky 




Box; gilded, by Clovis Eve (active 1584-1635) 

France, 16th century 

Lent by the Philadelphia Museum of Art 










mtiinr-"i mill -i 



Fig. 5 — Minnekaestchen (Betrothal Coffer) 
Germany, about 1400 
Lent by The Walters Art Gallery 




Fig. 6 — Cofferet; tooled 
Italy, 16th century 
The Cooper Union Museum 



of the case. The mitre case mentioned bears the arms of Cardinal Scipione 
Gonzaga, humanist and friend of the poet Torquato Tasso; surrounding 
the crest are symbols of the four Evangelists in medallions, and a pattern of 
arabesques. 

It is not an uncommon thing for craftsmen specializing in one kind of 
article to apply, out of whimsy or caprice or perhaps simple boredom, the 
form of their product to other uses: today we find cigarette boxes masquerad- 
ing as volumes of poetry, coffee-mills unaccountably used for lamps, and 
other conceits. Three silver-mounted leather drinking vessels in the form 
of shoes (Nos. 49, 80, and 81, Fig. 3) reflect this same extravagant tendency 
during the Renaissance, as well as the international commerce in luxury 
wares, for in one instance the leather proper is of French origin, while the 
mounts are German of a century later. In the seventeenth century, that era 
of the English Restoration and gargantuan carousing, the relatively abstemi- 
ous draught to be had from the shoe was swelled to heroic proportions by 
the advent of the "blackjack" (No. 90), a three- or four-quart vessel which 
only the pluckiest toper would dare venture. French ambassadors to the 
English court of the period were appalled at the thought of gentlemen 
drinking out of their boots! If the seventeenth century was an era of gusty 
living, it was also the century in which sport, as we know it, began, though 
the sports partook of the same riotous brutality as politics and winebibbing: 
bear-baiting, cock-fighting, and bull-baiting were the favorites of the masses. 
Again the emphasis returns to the nobility, who for centuries had fostered 
the splendid sport of falconry. All the aforementioned qualities of leather 
make it the material to be used, for the gauntlets (No. 124) which protect 
the arms of the hawker from the talons, the straps or jesses which hold the 
falcon to the wrist, and the hood, or rufter (No. 86, Fig. 2) which keeps 
the bird blind until she is "flown out of the hood" when the quarry is in 
sight. 

With the eighteenth century and the extension of the textile industry, 
the glass industry, and the beginning of machine manufacturing, a great 
number of the uses of leather fell into abeyance. Europe too was no longer 
the pastoral continent on which cattle could thrive: the increase of popula- 
tion made pasturage expensive, and cloth, chinaware and glass supplanted 
leather for clothing and household equipment. We find a somewhat sudden 
discontinuance of leather as a universal decorative and utilitarian medium, 
and in consonance with the late Baroque and Rococo styles, it becomes 
more delicate: kid, suede, fine buckskin, and reptile leathers appear in cos- 
tume accessories, often embroidered to a point at which the basis disappears. 
The original frank acceptance of the medium for its own sake gives way to 
a certain artificiality, or rather, negation of craftsmanlike candour. But in 



the United States, where the latest European fashions rubbed elbows in 
the streets with frontiersmen, Indians, and the hardiest of settlers, conditions 
obtained in which the practical uses of leather were revived by contact with 
the wilderness, its inhabitants, and the (then apparently) inexhaustible 
supply of skins. Almost everyone is familiar with the leather fire-bucket, 
fire-helmet, the buckskin jackets and chaparajos of the frontier period, and 
certainly everyone is familiar with the traditional image and feats of George 
Washington. But that the general and legislator should possess a leather 
key-basket (No. 161, Fig. 8), decorated with geometric and Masonic motifs, 
a sturdy and substantial thing such as would befit an active plantation 
owner, is an exceptional intimation of his domestic character. 

This introduction could profit by the mention of many more objects, 
either for their historical or decorative merit. Chinese shadow-puppets and 
wall hangings, shoes of all lasts and peculiarities, pouches, belts, a saddle 
once the property of Washington Irving — all have their special charm or 
aesthetic reward. The visitor, however, will have to connect the links in this 
long chain of leather for himself, bearing always in mind that even today, 
when the invasion by synthetics of the old well-known world of natural 
materials has, in a decade, changed our associations in every direction, we 
icturn perpetually to these natural materials whenever we become nostalgic 
lor the gracious textures, the inimitable polishes and patinas, which only 
they can provide. Of these leather, for fifty centuries, has remained the most 
adaptable, the most accessible, and decoratively the most catholic: our 
modern age, with its emphasis upon simplicity and cleanliness of style, 
employs it just as lovingly as the bookbinder LeGascon, who in the seven- 
teenth century strove to attain an elaboration which to our taste seems 
toilsome and disconcerting. The moccasin of the Plains Indian has not 
been improved, either as to resilience or comfort, nor has the judgment 
of Tutankhamen, resting on leather cushions in the palace of Tell-el- 
Amarna, been revised by the designers of modern furniture. The primitive 
satchel is removed in time and finish only from the suede handbag which 
carries a cigarette lighter and lipstick instead of flint and iron oxide. If, 
through our obstinate, adoration of the substitute, we have lost something 
of the keenness of eye and deftness of hand which the leather craftsmen of 
other periods had in such great degree, we may regain a little by comparing 
and enjoying the products of their skill. We may return, too, to their 
opinion: that a sound and stimulating medium, produced naturally with 
natural improvements, is the most congenial one for artistic expression, for 
the necessities of everyday life, and for the permanent gratification we 
expect from hand-wrought, honorable workmanship. 

Everett P. Lesley, Jr. 

10 



CATALOGUE 



(The numbers set in parentheses after the descriptions of the objects 
refer to the owners of the objects, as shown in the list of Contributors 
to the Exhibition printed on page 16) 



PRIMITIVE 

1. Warrior's shield; Masai people, Kenya, 
20th century (2) 

2. Twisted belt with attached powder horn; 
fringed, stitched; Hausa people, Nigeria, 
20th century (2) 

3. Leather belt with amulets; Hausa people, 
Nigeria, 20th century (2) 

4. Harp; Mangbettu people, Faradje (2) 

5. Fetish figure, "juju"; appliqued, woven, 
embroidered; probably French West Africa 

(2) 

6. Leggings or riding boots; painted and ap- 
pliqued, embroidered; Hausa people, Ni- 
geria, 20th century (2) 

7. Ceremonial object, demon or animal head; 
Atacamenan culture, desert section, North 
Chile; Pre-Spanish, 1200-1500 (2) 

8. Container for paint or medicine; Ataca- 
menan culture, desert section, North Chile; 
Pre-Spanish, 1200-1500 (2) 

9. Woman's sandal; Inca Indian, Peru, 500 
A.D. (?) (8) 

10. Knife and sheath; carved; Vai people, 
Liberia (48) 

11. Knife and sheath; Benin, Africa, probably 
17th-18th centuries (48) 



12. Fragment; lotus design, stained, cut and 
inlaid; Egypt, New Kingdom, 1500 B.C. or 
later (7) 

13. Fragments from Balabish, Pan grave cul- 
ture; Egypt, Eighteenth Dynasty (11) 

14. Interlaced thongs; Egypt, Eighteenth Dy- 
nasty (11) 

15. Fragment of wall painting; Egypt, Eight- 
eenth Dynasty (29) 

16. Shoe; Antinoe, Egypt, lst-5th centuries 
(47) 

17. Shoe; Qarara, Egypt, 4th-6th centuries 
(48) 

18. Sandal, pointed toe; Egypt, Byzantine 
style, probably 8th century (48) 

19. Sandal sole; Egypt, Graeco-Roman period, 
about 1st century (48) 

20. Helmet; Antinoe, Egypt, 2nd-4th centuries 
(48) 

21. Perforated leather strip; Antinoe, Egypt, 
2nd-4th centuries (48) 

NORTH AFRICA AND THE NEAR EAST 

22. Ethiopic prayer-book holder and prayer- 
book; Ethiopia (1) 

23. Vase or water container; moulded, painted; 
Baluchistan, 19th century (2) 

24. Purse; embroidered in metallic thread; 
Morocco, 19th century (13) 



25. Bookcover; Persian, late 16th century (23) 

26. Pair of bookcovers; geometric design, 
stamped and tooled; Egypto-Arabic, early 
17th century (29) 

27. Box for writing materials; stamped and 
tooled, gilded, painted; Turkey, 1600 
(29) 

28. Rehab (spike fiddle) ; Ethiopia, probably 
late 19th century (29) 

29. Torah scroll; Yemenite Jews, early 18th 
century (33) 

30. Money bag, used by Touareg camel driver; 
colored, dyed, fringed; Morocco, probably 
late 19th century (35) 

31. Page from Koran, Kufic script on vellum; 
Islamic, 9th century (41) 

32. Water bottle; incised, metal mounts; Persia, 
17th century (49) 

33. Bag; probably North Africa, late 19th cen- 
tury (49) 

SPAIN AND SPANISH COLONIES 

34. Chest; tooled and carved; Peru, 18th cen- 
tury (7) 

35. Money; hacienda token; Mexico, 1800 (9) 

36. Three pierced panels; Ecuador, 17th cen- 
tury (13) 

37. Chair back; embossed, carved and painted, 
Ecuador, late 17th century (13) 

38. Fan; painted; probably Spain, 1720-1760 

(13) 

39. Gloves; printed design; Spain, 1840 (13) 

40. Purse; embroidered in gold thread; Moroc- 
co, Tetuan, 1753 (13) 

41. Chaparajos; appliqued; Andalusia, 20th 
century (14) 

42. Two panels; gilded and painted; Seville 
(?) , late 17th century (18) 

43. Wall plaque, basket of flowers; probably 
Spain, late 18th century (28) 

44. Miniature cabinet; gold tooling; Spain or 
Netherlands, 16th or 17th century (29) 

45. Coffer; embroidered with silk thread; Mex- 
ico or Spain, 17th-18th centuries (32) 

46. Wall panel; stamped and colored; Cordova, 
17th century (39) 

TWELFTH TO FIFTEENTH CENTURY 

47. Chalice case; cuir bouilli; Italy, 15th cen- 
tury (6) 

48. Page from mediaeval missal, "The Annun- 
ciation"; illuminated on vellum; Italy, 
probably 15th century (7) 

49. Drinking vessel in form of shoe; France, 
15th century; gilded silver mounts; by Mel- 
chior Mager, Nuremberg, 1582 (24) 

50. Case with cover, for devotional book; re- 
lieved and incised; France, 15th century (29) 

11 



51. Case for cup; cuir bouilli, incised design; 
France, 15th century (29) 

52. Bookbinding, Johannes Hagmayr of Ulm, 
"Geistliche Betrachtungen"; blind tooled 
and stamped; Germany, after 1466 (31) 

53. Casket; cuir cisele; Germany or Italy, 14th- 
15th centuries (31) 

54. Manuscript calendar; vellum pages 
mounted in silver; France, 14th century 
(32) 

55. Bookbinding, "Zamorensis Speculum"; 
from the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter, 
Salzburg, 1479 and 18th century (36) 

56. Girdle book; Germany, 15th century (36) 

57. Bookbinding "The Pilgrimage of the Soul"; 
doeskin over boards; England, about 1400 

(36) 

58. Coffer; incised and engraved; Italy, 15th 
century (39) 

59. Box; Italy, 15th century (39) 

60. Minnekaestchen; Germany, about 1400 
(50) 

61. Minnekaestchen; painted; Germany, Up- 
per Rhenish, about 1400 (50) 

62. Coffer; France, about 1400 (50) 

63. Box; repousse^ France, 15th century (50) 

64. Box; France, 15th century (50) 

65. Box; France, 15th century (50) 

66. Box; cuir bouilli; France, 15th century (50) 

67. Work box; cuir bouilli; Italy, 15th century 

(50) 

68. Bookbinding, Honorius of Autun, "Exposi- 
tio in Cantica Canticorum"; tooled and 
stamped; Southern Germany or Austria, 
12th century (50) 

SIXTEENTH CENTURY 

69. Bookbinding, Aeschylus, Six Plays; colored 
strapwork; Paris, 1552 (3) 

70. Woman's stirrup; Nuremberg, 16th cen- 
tury (6) 

71. Purse or pouch; silver mounting; Renais- 
sance period (7) 

72. Man's shoe; slashed; England, 16th century 
(8) 

73. Case for clock watch; blind tooling; Eng- 
land, 16th century (29) 

74. Case for an alarm; cuir bouilli, punched 
and embossed; France, late 16th century 
(29) 

75. Knives and case; 16th century (39) 

76. Bookbinding; by Clovis Eve (active 1584- 
1635) , France, 16th-17th centuries (39) 

77. Box; tooled and gilded, by Clovis Eve (ac- 
tive 1584-1635) , 16th-17th centuries (39) 

78. Bookbinding; "Book of Psalms", tooled 
a la fanfare, by Les Eve, Paris, 1581 (42) 

79. Bookbinding, "Versus Sententiosi ex Grae- 
corum"; stamped; Wittenberg, 1572 (42) 

80. Drinking vessel in form of a shoe; silver 
mounts; Nuremberg, 16th century (44) 

81. Drinking vessel in form of a shoe; Nurem- 
berg, 16th century (44) 

82. Bookbinding, Livy's "Historia"; vellum; 
France, about 1545 (50) 

83. Bookbinding, "Prophetie de Rouellond"; 

12 



silver tooled and mounted; France, late 
16th century (50) 

SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 

84. Purse in the form of a double shoe; Ger- 
many, 17th century (6) 

85. Picnic case and fittings; gold tooled; Ger- 
many, late 17th century (6) 

86. Falcon's hood; European, 17th century 
(13) 

87. Fragment of wall covering; tooled; Nether- 
lands, 1680 (13) 

88. Purse; appliqued and stitched; European, 
1630 (14) 

89. Gloves; embroidered in metal threads; Eng- 
land, I7th century (14) 

90. Blackjack; silver mounts; England, 1646 
(25) 

91. Mirror case; France, 17th century (29) 

92. Gauntlet for left elbow; England or Hun- 
gary, 1640 (29) 

93. Parade shield; Austria, about 1575 (39) 

94. Bookbinding; P. Moreau, "Prieres de l'Sme 
Chrestienne"; gold tooled, in the manner 
of LeGascon, Paris, 1632 (42) 

95. Tankard; England, about 1655 (44) 

96. Bookbinding, "Office de l'figlise"; vellum; 
France, 1686 (50) 

97. Bookbinding, "Tableau de la Croix"; Paris, 
1651 (50) 

98. Quill case and quill; 17th century (50) 

99. Bookbinding, "Arithmetic", by "the Gilder 
of Henry VIII"; England, about 1530 ( 50) 

ITALIAN RENAISSANCE AND BAROQUE 

100. Bookbinding, "Vita del Cardinale Bellar- 
mino"; gold tooled; Rome, from the library 
of Cardinal Altieri, 1644 ( 1) 

101. Bookbinding, Hubert Thomas, "Annalium 
de Vita et Rebus Gestis Illustrissimi Prin- 
cipes Frederici II", Frankfort, 1624; bound 
for Eugene of Savoy; Italy, 17th century 

(3) 

102. Knife and fork case; tooled with medallions 
and foliated design; Florence, early 17th 
century (6) 

103. Knife and fork case; stamped with medal- 
lions; Italy, early 17th century (6) 

104. Coffer with tray; brass mounts, gold tooled; 
Medici crest on top, Florence, 17th century 
(6) 

105. Coffer; gold tooled; Florence, late 16th cen- 
tury (6) 

106. Chopine; tooled; Venice, 16th century (8) 

107. Upper portion of a case; cuir bouilli; Italy, 
16th century (13) 

108. Cofferet; tooled; Italy, 16th century (13) 

109. Chest; studded; Italy, 17th century (13) 

110. Gauntlets; cutwork design, ornamented 
bands; Italy, 17th century (13) 

111. Sedan chair; painted, gilded decorations; 
Venice, mid-18th century (17) 

112. Brush with leather handle; tooled and 
gilded; Italy, 16th century (27) 

113. Ceremonial buckler; embossed, surface- 
tooled; Italy, 1560 (29) 



114. Circular box; incised; Italy, 15th century 

(29) 

115. Case; tooled; Italy, 16th century (29) 

116. Case for traveling cup; gold tooled; Italy, 
16th century (29) 

117. Case for toilet accessories; painted; Italy, 
16th century (29) 

118. Mitre case; incised; Italy, 16th century (29) 

119. Powder flask; cuir bouilli, iron mounts; 
Italy, 16th century (29) 

120. Case; Italy, second half of the 15th century 
(29) 

121. Circular box; Italy (?) , 15th century (29) 

122. Bookbinding, portfolio for ambassador's 
credentials; gold lacquered; Venice, 16th 
century (29) 

123. Coin box; gilded scrolls; Italy, 16th cen- 
tury (50) 

EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 

124. Falconer's glove; Austria, 18th century (6) 

125. Instrument case, in shape of fleur-de-lys; 
gold tooled; Austria, 1762 (?) (6) 

126. Fan; painted; France, about 1750 (13) 

127. Fan; painted design after the "Bird Fancier" 
by Lancret; France, mid-18th century (13) 

128. Spoon case; parchment, gold stamped; Ger- 
many, late 18th century (13) 

129. Necessaire; Netherlands, third quarter of 
the 18th century (13) 

130. Scalpel case; silver mountings; Netherlands 
(?) , late 18th century (13) 

131. Child's shoe; England, 1795 (13) 

132. Bridle; applied silk embroidery; France, 
1770-1774 (13) 

133. Fragment of leather; stamped, silvered, 
painted; Netherlands, 1750 (13) 

134. £tui; gold mounts; France, mid-18th cen- 
tury (13) 

135. Portfolio; gold tooled; France, 18th century 
(13) 

136. Child's head protector; I8th century (14) 

137. Vest; embroidered; 18th century (14) 

138. Mitre case; Italy, 18th century (25) 

139. Chalice case; gold tooled; Italy, 17th-18th 
centuries (29) 

140. Case for ivories; gold tooled; France, 18th 
century (29) 

141. Screen; painted in the style of Mekhior de 
Hondecoeter (1636-1695) ; England or 
Netherlands, about 1700 (37) 

142. Bookbinding, "Lettres de M****"; gold 
tooled, Paris, 1760 (42) 

143. Bookbinding, "Histoire des Monts de 
Piet<5"; gold tooled; Padua, 1742 (42) 

144. Chest for coin collection; France, late 18th 
century (50) 

145. Clock case; France, probably 18th century 
(50) 

146. Game case (book format) ; France, first 
half 18th century (50) 

147. Case for porringer; France, 18th century 
(50) 

148. Bookbinding, "Heures nouvelles a 1'usage 
des Laics"; France, 18th century (50) 



149. Writing case; gold mounts; France, 18th 
century (50) 

NINETEENTH CENTURY 

150. Bookbinding, Bossuet, "Oraison funebre 
du Grand Cond£", bound by Chambolle- 
Duru (active 1862-1898) for the Due de 
Chartres; France, late 19th century (3) 

151. Book, "Forget-me-not"; tooled, inlaid; pub- 
lished by Leavitt and Allen, New York, 
1855 (5) 

152. Shoe; France, 1800-1820 (7) 

153. Boxing glove; embroidered; Russia, 19th 
century (7) 

154. Fan; painted; France, late I9th century 
(13) 

155. Lady's gloves; ornamented with stitching; 
France, late 19th century (13) 

156. Lady's gloves; painted and printed; France 
or Spain, early 19th century (13) 

157. Dog-collar; gilded brass ornaments; Eng- 
land (?) , 1820 (13) 

158. Daguerreotype case; tooled; United States, 
I9th century (13) 

159. Letter case; gold tooled, with monogram of 
Napoleon I; France, early 19th century 
(20) 

160. Name plates: United States, early 19th 
century (51) 

AMERICANA 

161. Key basket with initials of its original 
owner, George Washington; United States, 
Colonial (12) 

162. Breeches; United States, 1800-1815 (13) 

163. Man's slippers; embroidered; United States, 
late 19th century (13) 

164. Coat; quill embroidery; 18th century (14) 

165. Fire bucket; Providence, Rhode Island, 
1797 (16) 

166. Saddle and fittings; United States, early 
19th century (17) 

167. Wallet; stamped design; United States, late 
18th century (29) 

168. Cradle; metal studding; made for Rachel 
and Derrick Brinckerhoff, New York, 1762 
(29) 

169. Document holder; Southwest United 
States, probably 19th century (34) 

170. Two snuff bottles; Southwest United States, 
probably 19th century (34) 

171. Bag; Southwest United States, probably 
19th century (34) 

TWENTIETH CENTURY 

172. Bookbinding, Robert Louis Stevenson, 
"The Suicide Club"; by Lise L. Bataille, 
Paris, Contemporary (3) 

173. Belt, "The Spiral"; designed and executed 
by Arthur Berne, United States, 1950 (4) 

174. Shoe; designed by Arpad, France, about 
1937 (7) 

175. Wall hanging or drapery; designed by 
Dorothy Liebes, United States, 20th cen- 
tury (7) 

13 



176. Money, "One Buck", printed; Enterprise, 
Oregon, 1933 (9) 

177. Money, 25-cent scrip; Heppner, Oregon, 
March-May 1933 (9) 

178. Money, 10-cent money chip; stamped disk; 
Albany, Oregon, March 1933 (9) 

179. Two pieces of money: one sole (1% gold 
marks) and one heel (50 gold pfennigs) ; 
stamped; Germany, 1923 (9) 

180. Purse; designed by Cuyjet, United States, 
1950 (15) 

181. Chair; designed by Allen Gould, United 
States, 1950 (19) 

182. Pouch, "Grommet"; designed and executed 
by Gloria, United States, 1950 (21) 

183. Ash tray; United States, 1950 (22) 

184. Cigarette lighter; United States, 1950 (22) 

185. Spinet or desk pad; gold tooled; United 
States, 1950 (22) 

186. Man's wallet; United States, 1950 (22) 

187. Book-ends; United States, 1950 (22) 

188. Gauntlet or long glove; designed by Fira, 
executed by Boris Krasotkin, United States, 
1950 (22) 

189. Cocktail glove; designed by Fira, executed 
by Boris Krasotkin, United States, 1950 
(22) 

190. Clock; United States, 1950 (22) 

191. Calendar; United States, 1950 (22) 

192. Cigarette box; gold tooled; United States, 
1950 (22) 

193. Cigarette box; gold tooled, studded; United 
States, 1950 (22) 

194. Handbag; Italy, 1950 (22) 

195. Handbag; United States, 1950 (22) 

196. Shoe; designed and executed by Salvatore 
Ferragamo, Italy, 1950 (26) 

197. Bookbinding, Paul Valery, "Narcisse"; 
by Pierre Legrain, Antwerp, 1926 (29) 

198. Handbag, "Town Trotter"; pinked and per- 
forated overlay; designed by Alan, United 
States, 1950 (30) 

199. Bookbinding, Choderlos de Laclos, "Les 
Liaisons Dangereuses"; by R. Bordes, Paris, 
1930 (36) 

200. Bookbinding, "Souvenirs du Jardin De- 
truit"; by Pierre Legrain, Paris, Contempo- 
rary (36) 

201. Bag, "Postilion"; designed and executed by 
William D. Phelps, United States, 1950 
(38) 

202. Belt, "The Mediaeval"; designed by Wil- 
liam D. Phelps, United States, 1950 (38) 

203. Bookbinding, "Selected Poems of William 
Morris"; illuminated manuscript with in- 
laid binding by Riviere and Son, London, 
1912 (42) 

204. Handbag; United States, 1950 (43) 

205. Coat, finger tip length; designed by Zita 
Plaut, United States, 1950 (45) 

206. Belt; hand carved, silver buckle; Yoakum, 
Texas, 1950 (46) 

AMERICAN INDIAN 

207. Chieftain's shirt; fringed, beaded, dyed; 
probably Sioux, Montana, 19th century (2) 

14 



208. Leggings; beaded, wrapped ermine fringe; 
Plains Indian, 19th century (2) 

209. Moccasins; beaded; Plains Indian, 19th cen- 
tury (2) 

210. Awl case; beaded; Plains Indian, 19th cen- 
tury (2) 

211. Knife sheath; painted, beaded; Plains In- 
dian, 19th century (2) 

212. Medicine case; painted, fringed; Plains In- 
dian, 19th century (2) 

213. Strike-a-light bag; beaded, metal rattlers; 
Plains Indian, 19th century (2) 

214. Tobacco pouch; quill embroidery; Plains 
Indian, 19th century (2) 

215. Sacred painting on skin; American Indian; 
Southwest United States, 19th century (34) 

216. Wall hanging; painted; Plains Indian, 19th 
century (40) 

FAR EAST 

217. Archer's gloves; stencil pattern; Japan, 19th 
century (7) 

218. Vest or sleeveless coat; gold and black sten- 
cil, China, 19th century (7) 

219. Robe; stencil design; Japan, 19th century 

(7) 

220. Kin-chaku (purse) ; stamped, painted and 
gilded, netsuke and ojime on cord; Japan, 
about 1750 (13) 

221. Shadow puppet; West China, Szechwan 
Province, Chengtu, 19th century (13) 

222. Wall hanging; painted; China, 18th cen- 
tury (13) 

223. Decorative panel; floral design; tooled, 
polychromed; Japan, 19th century (29) 

224. Decorative panel, Tennin (female angel) ; 
tooled and lacquered, polychromed; Japan, 
19th century (29) 

225. Prayer wheel; yak hide over cylinder; Tibet, 
probably late I9th century (35) 

226. Money belt; China, 19th century (39) 

FOLK ART 

227. Vest; embroidered with wool; Hungary, 
19th century (7) 

228. Man's gaiter; stamped and tooled; Spain, 
19th century (7) 

229. Boot; dyed, appliqued and embroidered; 
Southeast Greenland, late 19th century (7) 

230. Fragment; panel from pouch, embroidered 
in wool, appliqued; Siberia, 19th century 
(7) 

231. Belt; Poland, 19th century (14) 

232. Tobacco pouch (?) ; colored applique^ 
Hungary (?) (14) 

233. Man's boots; appliqued; Mongolia, early 
20th century (35) 



234. Man's shoe; England, 17th century (7) 

235. Riding boot with jack; England, early 19th 
century (7) 

236. Moccasin; embroidered with porcupine 
quills; New England Indians, probably 
19th century (7) 

237. Slipper; Portugal, 19th century (7) 



I © ^ ^ 



238. Shoe, "Soulier de Vilain"; France, 17th- 
18th centuries (8) 

239. Dunderbludgeon shoe; designed for Henry 
VIII; England, 16th century (8) 

240. Ballet slipper; United States, 1950 (10) 

241. Shoe; United States, 1950 (10) 

242. Woman's high shoe; United States (?) , 
1840-1870 (13) 

243. Slippers; heelless, bronzed; France, about 
1830 (13) 

244. Woman's shoe; corded silk, embroidered; 
France, 18th century (13) 

245. Child's clogs; applied brocade; England, 
mid-18th century (13) 

246. Child's shoe; France, late 18th century (13) 

247. Child's shoe; Switzerland, 18th century 
(13) 

248. Man's shoe, moccasin type; United States, 
1950 (26) 

PRINTS AND DRAWINGS 

249. Etching, aquatint; "Mato-Tope", Mandan 
Chief, by Karl Bodmer (1809-1893) , from 
"Travels in the Interior of North America", 
by Prince Maximilian Alexander Philipp 
of Wied-Neuwied, London, 1844 (5) 

250. Engraving, "Pyramus and Thisbe"; by 



Lucas van Leyden (1490-1533) , Nether- 
lands, 1514 (13) 

251. Etching, "The Marriage Night"; by Abra- 
ham Bosse (1605-1678) , France, 1633 (13) 

252. Drawing, "The Falconer", costume from 
Donizetti's opera, "Don Sebastian"; Italy, 
1850 (13) 

253. Engraving, "The Proposal"; by Albrecht 
Durer (1471-1528), Germany, before 1495 

(13) 

254. Ten engraved plates; by Briasson, 1762- 
1772, from "Recueil de planches, sur les 
sciences, les arts liberaux, et les arts 
mechaniques . . . ," for Denis Diderot's 
"Encyclopedic", Paris, 18th century (13) 

255. Print, "A Wellington Boot", by William 
Heath (1795-1840), England, early 19th 
century (36) 

256. Print, "Le Santier", by Abraham Bosse 
(1605-1678) , France, 17th century (36) 

257. Print, "Le Cordonnier"; by Abraham Bosse 
(1605-1678) , France, 17th century (36) 

258. Four prints showing the production and 
employment of leather, by Jan Luyken 
(1649-1712) , Netherlands, 18th century 
(36) 

259. Print; "Avarice", by Jacob Matham (1571- 
1631) , Netherlands, 17th century (36) 



15 



CONTRIBUTORS 

Jo the Exhibition 



Archdiocese of New York (1) 
The American Museum of 

Natural History (2) 
Pierre Beres, Inc. (3) 
Arthur Berne (4) 
E. Maurice Bloch (5) 
Blumka Gallery (6) 
The Brooklyn Museum (7) 
Joseph Burger Collection (8) 
The Chase National Bank 

Collection of Moneys of 

the World (9) 
Capezio (10) 

The Cincinnati Art Museum (11) 
City Art Museum of St. Louis (12) 
The Cooper Union Museum (13) 
Costume Institute of the 

Metropolitan Museum of 

Art (14) 

CUYJET (15) 

Elisha Dyer (16) 

French and Company, Inc. (17) 

Eugene L. Garbaty (18) 

Allen Gould (19) 

Miss Yvonne Hackenbroch (20) 

Hildegarde's Workshop (21) 

Georg Jensen, Inc. (22) 

Dikran G. Kelekian, Inc. (23) 

S. Kramarsky (24) 

Mrs. Breckinridge Long (25) 

Lord and Taylor (26) 



Alastair B. Martin (27) 
Elinor Merrell, Inc. (28) 
Metropolitan Museum of Art (29) 
Alan Miller, Inc. (30) 
The Pierpont Morgan Library (31) 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 

Massachusetts (32) 
Museum of the Jewish Theological 

Seminary (33) 
Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, 

New Mexico (34) 
The Newark Museum (35) 
The New York Public Library (? ) 
Frank Partridge, Inc. (37) 
Phelps (38) 

Philadelphia Museum of Art (i9) 
Frederick Rhodes Pleasants (40) 
Mrs. Elizabeth Riefstahl (41) 
The Rosenbach Company (42) 
Nettie Rosenstein Accessories ( ) 
The Southern Comfort 

Corporation (44) 
Sport and Travel, Inc. (45) 
Tex Tan of Yoakum (46) 
United Shoe Machinery 

Corporation (47) 
The University Museum, 

University of Pennsylvania (4f 
Wadsworth Atheneum (49) 
The Walters Art Gallery (50) 
Miss Edith A. Wright (51) 



Jechnical ^Material Contributed by 

B. D. ElSENDRATH TANNING Co. OF RACINE 

Hermann Loewenstein, Inc. 

C. S. Osborne and Company 

Tanners Council of America 



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